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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 7 March 2016 for answer on 14 March 2016

R - Signifies the Member has declared an interest.
W - Signifies that the question was tabled in Welsh.

(Self-identifying Question no. shown in brackets)

Written Questions must be tabled at least five working days before they are to be answered. In practice, Ministers aim to answer within seven/eight days but are not bound to do so. Answers are published in the language in which they are provided, with a translation into English of responses provided in Welsh.

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills

David Melding (South Wales Central): How does the Welsh Government ensure parents and teachers are able to identify the signs of brain tumours in young people? (WAQ69973)

Answer received on 15 March 2016

The Minister for Education and Skills (Huw Lewis):   

The symptoms of a brain tumour include severe and persistent headaches; seizures; persistent nausea and vomiting and drowsiness; mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality; and progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body; or vision problems; or speech problems.

Given the severity of these symptoms it is highly likely that those responsible for the long-term care of children and young people would recognise such changes and arrange a GP appointment. The number of cases in Wales is relatively small and, given the limited effectiveness of public awareness campaigns, the Welsh Government has no specific programmes in place to raise parent and teacher awareness of brain tumour symptoms.

However, Welsh Governments' guidance 'Access to Education and Support for Children and Young People with Medical Needs' recommends that all LAs, maintained schools and their governing bodies formulate policies related to educating children and young people who have healthcare needs in light of wider statutory duties (e.g. related to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children) and their own assessment of local needs. This should include emergency procedures and the training of relevant staff for emergency situations.

All schools have access to a school nursing service. In addition to the regular checks that school nurses undertake, staff and children have the opportunity to report to them any deviations from normal health that may be either behavioural or physical. School nurses are trained to observe for particular features and would escalate concerns as appropriate.

Every parent who is concerned about the health of their child or a change in the child's behaviour should discuss this with their General Practitioner to get a medical assessment.  If the GP feels it is appropriate, they will then transfer the child on for specialist medical intervention.

To ask the Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport

David Melding (South Wales Central): How does the Welsh Government ensure the Welsh domain names .cymru and .wales attract international attention and tourism to Wales? (WAQ69976)

Answer received on 11 March 2016

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism (Ken Skates): Welsh Government has registered both visit.wales and croeso.cymru and is using them to support both the main Visit Wales website and the Welsh language version of that site so they are fully engaged in all of our promotional and marketing activities.

 

To ask the Minister for Finance and Government Business

David Melding (South Wales Central): How is the Welsh Government promoting the procurement and use of fairly-traded goods in the Welsh food industry? (WAQ69977)

Answer received on 11 March 2016

The Minister for Finance and Government Business (Jane Hutt):

The National Procurement Service (NPS) has developed and signed off its food strategy which will see NPS begin to procure food on behalf of the Welsh Public Sector in early 2016.

Suppliers will be given the opportunity to bid for the supply of fairly traded products as each NPS framework agreement is awarded across sectors such as tea, coffee, banana's, chocolate and sugar etc.

All NPS frameworks fully embed the principles of the Welsh Procurement Policy Statement (WPPS). Principle 3 of the WPPS covers the Economic, Social and Environmental Impact of our framework agreements and ensures that we adopt a balanced approach to our sourcing and not just focus on lowest cost options.

The NPS frameworks also ask suppliers to provide us with detail around their compliance with the new Modern Slavery Act to ensure that they are sourcing ethically and responsibly.

Wales became the first ever Fair Trade Nation in June 2008 and currently boasts:

  • 82% of our local authorities have achieved fair trade status.
  • 93% of our universities have achieved fair trade status.
  • 50% of welsh schools are registered on the fair trade schools scheme.
  • 150 schools in Wales have been awarded fair trade status.

NPS are working with individual sectors across Wales to ensure that specific requirements are included in each of the frameworks.
Supplier engagement events are being held by NPS across Wales to engage with suppliers on the strategy and to inform them of the NPS plans for the procurement of food across the Welsh public sector going forward.
These events are a great opportunity to drive the fairly traded agenda and to ensure suppliers understand all of the considerations taken into account when sourcing for the public sector in Wales.

To ask the Minister for Health and Social Services

David Melding (South Wales Central): What measures are in place to develop pathology services in Wales, such as a national medical examiner system? (WAQ69972)

Answer received on 18 March 2016

The Minister for Health and Social Services (Mark Drakeford):

Work is underway in conjunction with the Department of Health to introduce new death certification arrangements, including medical examiners to scrutinise all deaths in Wales not referred to coroners.

Death certification is a non-devolved matter – the Department of Health recently started its consultation on the reforms to the death certification process in England and Wales. The Welsh Government will consult after the National Assembly elections on those areas devolved to Wales, which relate to the appointment of medical examiners and the funding of the service. The intention is that the new proposals will come into effect in England and Wales in April 2018.

As to pathology services more generally, there is an all-Wales programme to modernise services which was set up by Welsh Government and NHS Wales chief executives and has wide engagement from clinicians and service managers.

Work is being developed to explore a whole system design for a pathology service for NHS Wales, drawing in the work of the existing national pathology projects.

 

David Melding (South Wales Central): How does the Welsh Government ensure GPs and health professionals are able to identify and diagnose health conditions they may see only rarely in their careers? (WAQ69974)

Answer received on 18 March 2016

Mark Drakeford: 

Every GP working in Wales must be registered on a health board medical performer's list. A condition of inclusion on that list is that the GP must undertake an annual appraisal, reflecting on learning needs. GPs are encouraged to vary their learning and undertake significant event analyses when they have experienced a rare event.

The range of clinical conditions and concerns which present to general practice is extremely wide. The Wales Deanery's continuing professional development programme covers the common chronic conditions but specific topic areas are supported through a range of resources, such as journals and online learning.

The Royal College of GPs in Wales and health boards provide a range of educational opportunities and events. Continuing professional development is the means by which doctors maintain and improve their knowledge and skills related to their professional practice.

Evidence of continuing professional development is one of several pieces of information doctors must discuss at their annual appraisal to show they are keeping up to date and working to enhance the quality of their practice. Annual appraisal is a requirement of the General Medical Council's revalidation process through which doctors show they are fit to practise.

 

David Melding (South Wales Central): How does the Welsh Government's health plans for patients with brain tumours consider both the emotional stress of treatment and the effect of the tumour on cognition? (WAQ69975)

Answer received on 18 March 2016

Mark Drakeford:

The Neurological Conditions Delivery Plan and the Cancer Delivery Plan ensure there is a continued focus on the delivery of patient-centred services for people with brain tumours. 

Both plans recognise the emotional and psychological impact of brain tumours and their treatment and the need to ensure services are delivered according to the national standards. I expect the actions and measures set out in the plans to make a tangible difference to the care people receive and this includes any associated emotional, psychological and cognitive impacts they are experiencing.  

The plans are available at:

http://gov.wales/topics/health/nhswales/plans/?lang=en

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